Six weeks ago, Joe Anderson took a piece of cardboard, wrote out a message, and stood outside the Houston Texans' practice facility hoping that message would reach the NFL.
On Tuesday, the NFL heard, and called him with good news: The New York Jets offered him a spot on their practice squad.
Anderson confirmed the signing to For The Win, and the Jets made an official announcement later in the day.
We have signed WR Joe Anderson to the practice squad. pic.twitter.com/NEb373AJ9g
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 22, 2015
The signing rewards a patient, hard-working Anderson for his diligence in seeking an NFL roster spot even as his opportunities seemed to be all but gone.
Here is Anderson six weeks earlier, via his Instagram account:
#NothingWillStopMe Lord it's all in your hands, all I know is that I believe it by faith and see it all happening even when it looks like a joke before the eyes of man! I fill myself with humility and say let your Will be done and use me to allow others to believe in your power!!!! Im not looking at my situation with a worldly mindset and that's what's gonna seperate me my hunger can't be matched my heart can't be compared too, I'm outside the Houston Texans facility every morning, because I kno what type of gift God has blessed me with!!! A lot of people don't really live out the meaning #WhateverItTakes they just sayin it!!! You gotta really live that junk if you say it and believe in yourself and trust in the Lord, and living it don't just mean hold up a sign!! Oh there is much pain behind holding this sign an it's not from bein doubted or the underdog, like how bad do you really want it?? Forget a publicity stunt Boyz is Really HUNGRY out hur dawg to the point if the coach wanna line up I'll route him up too, to the point if it's special teams an the REF get in the way I'll hit him too!! It's something flickering in my head everyday with much Humility and WILL power to go the extra mile when it come to believing in myself and proven all doubters wrongI'm not just chasing greatness for myself/family but for all the people that lack faith and wanna quit and don't believe God still moves, DAWG if you gotta DREAM GO GET THAT!! Let ZERO What If's stand in the way go to the grave on E, not off what someone told you you can't do...Create and tell your testimony don't be ashamed of it, do it all for the glory of the kingdom take yourself outta the picture I'm out here on FAITH, it's bigger than just collecting a check to me straight up! The way I do what I do and why I do what I do isn't just to score touchdowns and gain fame that's far from the case I don't need all that cause I'm already famous in spirit an you can't get no famous than that, when I get my shot you'll see what the Lord is truly about to do in my life and I pray wit all my heart it inspires you to never Give up.When your purpose means more than your situation God will give you favor #TAGandREPOST
Anderson has said that his agent fielded interest from several teams, including the New England Patriots, but no deal ever came to fruition. In a league where the average career is only three years long, the lack of offers isn't surprising.
But Anderson's Instagram from one week earlier suggests the Jets almost signed him then -- and that the wide receiver believed an opportunity was coming up in the near future:
#TheJourneyOfTheReturn #ReadAll❗️ #ItsComingItsGettingCloserAndCloser #WaitingPatiently #AsGodWorksThingsOutForHisGlory #WillContinueWorkingMyTailOff Although I didn't sign today I wanted to bless someone with this because God is truly moving rite now! For God to show up like he has shown up I have to glorify him, no matter your odds your up against when you walk in obedience and truly trust God, God will bless you and open doors man don't see opening for you it's called Favor. I didn't sign today but I'm still so very very grateful God has brought me this far the organization spoke highly of me and really really liked what they seen an may be bringing me back next week or the week after or even on a contract after the season either or is great and fine with me.. Trusting God and taking it 1 day at a time with much patience, cause it's all so very humbling I looked and felt great on that field today, I was very explosive,smooth, quick in and out of breaks, with amazing body control, and great hands was there response we like him he plays with hunger, hearing them say that was so very encouraging to me, Thank You Jesus!! we are getting closer and closer and closer God is working it all out rite now!! #ThankYouJetsOrganization @nyjets for believing in a guy that has always been doubted! #1stepCloser #StayingReady #LetsGo #GreaterIsComing #DontQuit (( #OwnYourStruggle )) I shall be signing soon I believe and speaking that by faith #PrayerWarriorsLetsTouchAndAgree God is working it all out as we speak!! #ImpossibleIsNotTrue #TrustGod (Luke 1:45 ""You are blessed for believing that the Lord would keep his promise to you..""
Anderson may have been helped out by comments made by Brandon Marshall, a Jets wide receiver who was his teammate with the Chicago Bears. Marshall wrote on the above Instagram post to compliment Anderson's character and lobby for him in the future:
"Wow this is humility right here," writes Marshall. "My brother @_joeanderson is one of the hardest working guys I've had the pleasure of playing with. Everyday he stands outside of @houstontexans stadium praying someone gives him a shot. Some may call him #crazy. Hell I had to stop and really see his strength in this. I watched this guy grow so much.
"JOE you're the kinda of guy I want to play with. You're the guy I want in my FOXHOLE. I don't care if it's covering kicks."
Anderson is now in New York's practice squad, which brings him one step closer to joining Marshall in that foxhole. Anderson was eager to celebrate his success through a simple Instagram message today:
God is awesome like that.... he will do it just like THAT, but ON HIS TIME WHEN HE GETS READY!!! #StopComplainingAndBeReadyForTheBlessingGodHasForYou #GoGetReadyGodIsTrulyMovingInThisSeason #JustStayFaithful & #WalkInObedience SOMEONES BREAKTHROUGH IS ON THE WAY I CAN FEEL IT, and I wanna read the praise report in my DM #ILoveSeeingOthersProsperItBlessesMe